MIDLAND’S old town centre resembles a ghost town and is in urgent need of resuscitation, say concerned locals.
Caf di Mondo on Old Great Northern Hwy is the latest in a spate of businesses to close on the back of the recent closures of Viva Photography, Marmalades, Midland Tuition Centre and the Midland Newsagency.
Heart of Gypsy is currently holding a closing down sale.
Midland MLA Michelle Roberts said you did not have to walk far to be confronted with the reality businesses were closing down in Midland.
She called on residents to reject the City of Swan’s Midland Oval business plan for one that supports the whole town centre and local businesses.
“The City is borrowing millions to develop the oval into a precinct that would largely be shops and office space,” she said.
“How they think that creating more shop and office space on the oval is going to assist Midland, I don’t know.
“We’ve had the massive expansion of Midland Gate and there are a lot of shops, offices and units all currently vacant.
“All economics is supply and demand and it would appear Midland is over supplied.”
Midland entrepreneur Rex McCrae said his attempts to funk up Midland with a small bar in the old town centre had proved costly.
“I pay $8500 in rates for a turn-of-the-century property along Old Great Northern Highway which has no demand for a tenancy,” he said.
“This is the original heart of Midland and the City has let it die.
“There needs to be a business plan to resuscitate the area because it is no longer viable to trade here.”
City chief executive Mike Foley said the future of Midland was a significant priority and plans were in place to bring vibrancy, people and activity to benefit the whole of Midland.
“Given the importance of these issues to the future of Midland, the City invites Mrs Roberts or any other MP to contact us with their suggestions and to work with us to build a better Midland,” he said.
Mrs Roberts suggested the city increase its free parking to two hours to give people more flexibility.
“I’ve also had suggestions from business owners for pop-up shops and pop-up art in some of the vacant areas and shops around Midland,” she said.
“Even if they are only in place for a couple of months it would activate the town centre.
“There seems to be very little in terms of strategy for activating and encouraging people into our centre.”
Swan Chamber of Commerce president Gerry Hanssen said Midland needed a proper two-hectare park on the oval with high rise apartments surrounding the park.
“We also need to develop the Swan River foreshore with apartments overlooking the Swan Valley creating Midland as a river city attracting river traffic from Perth and Fremantle bringing tourist and commuters,” he said.
“We also need to bring people from Ellenbrook into Midland via an Upper Swan rail line.”